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Archive: 26/06/2019

Friday, September 27, 2019
1-4:30 p.m.

Fine Arts Center, UMass Amherst

Tickets available at the Fine Arts Center Box Office for $20. Admission is free for Five College students.

Join the UMass Amherst Libraries and A Network for Grateful Living for a dynamic afternoon of conversation exploring the landscape of engaged spiritual practice and action for social change. We will delve into the places where the personal and political meet as well as pathways that can catalyze and sustain our love, stewardship, and responsibility for the Earth and each other.

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium is inspired by the life and work of Brother David Steindl-Rast, a 93-year-old Benedictine Monk known as the “grandfather of gratitude” and one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement. Brother David, whose papers are in the UMass Special Collections and are part of their significant holdings documenting social change movements and activists, will be traveling from Austria to participate in the symposium.

The afternoon features accomplished, contemporary scholars, who are also spiritually-inspired activists and leaders, to engage this theme in its many facets. Speakers currently include: 

  • Mirabai Bush, founder of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, co-developer of Search Inside Yourself at Google, and recent author of Walking Each Other Home with Ram Dass

  • Lucas Johnson, Executive Director of On Being’s Civil Conversations Project and former leader in the U.S. community of the International Fellowship of Reconciliation, the world’s oldest interfaith peace organization

The afternoon will also include poetry, music, meditation, and other special guests.

Parking Information
UMass Amherst Parking Services has generously arranged for complimentary parking for you to attend this special event.

Complimentary Parking is available in Lots 12, 25 or 33 only. Note: It is approximately a 10-15 minute walk from these lots to the Fine Arts Center.

Handicapped Parking: The Fine Arts Center does provide free handicapped parking in the front of the building.

Paid Parking Options: Parking is also available in the Campus Center Garage.  The Garage Parking rate is $1.75/hr.  The Campus Center Garage is approximately a 10 – 15 minute walk to the Fine Arts Center.

Use our interactive campus map to identify metered parking spots, the campus garage and other locations.

The Radical Aliveness and Belonging Symposium is co-sponsored by A Network for Grateful Living (co-founded by Br. David) and Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst Libraries.

Special Collections and University Archives, UMass Amherst
Drawing upon the philosophy of W. E. B. Du Bois, Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) collects original materials that document the histories and experiences of social change in America and the organizational, intellectual, and individual ties that unite disparate struggles for social justice, human dignity, and equality. Our decision to adopt social change as a collecting focus emerged from considering one of Du Bois’s most profound insights: that the most fundamental issues in social justice are so deeply interconnected that no movement—and no solution to social ills—can succeed in isolation. Rather than focus on individual movements, we therefore focus on the connections between and among movements and the flow of people, organizations, and ideas. Our hope is to provide a more robust framework for interpreting the deep histories of social engagement in America and to lay the foundation for a deeper understanding of the experience of social change. We are home to over one thousand collections which touch on some aspect of social change, including the Du Bois Papers, Brother David Steindl-Rast’s Papers, The Records of the New England Yearly Meeting of Quakers, and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

A Network for Grateful Living
A Network for Grateful Living is a global nonprofit serving a growing movement of people who embrace gratefulness as a guiding light and grounding principle in their lives. We hold grateful living as an engaged mindfulness practice, grounded in both wisdom and science, which supports our ability to see the wonder and opportunity in every moment, and motivates us to act boldly with love, generosity and respect towards one another, ourselves, and the Earth.

In service of our mission, we offer online and community-based educational programs and practices which inspire and guide a commitment to grateful living, and catalyze the transformative power of personal and societal responsibility.


The UMass Amherst Libraries Digital Media Lab (DML) is pleased to announce Edwood Brice ’19 as the winner of the Lenovo Mirage Solo Virtual Reality Competition. Celebrating the release of Avengers: Endgame, the competition invited students to submit a 30-second video describing how they envisioned virtual reality (VR) technology and applications that could enhance student life on campus. The DML awarded Brice with a Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset.

Brice’s winning entry introduced VR “exergaming” (gamified exercising paired with virtual reality) as a way to provide a balanced source of physical activity for the UMass Amherst campus community. “With results that say that VR exergaming is objectively easier to conduct and more fun than traditional physical activity, it is apparent that more should be done to understand how VR technology can impact other people and their varying states of health,” he explains.

This is the second virtual reality pitch competition held by the DML. Last year, Parker Louison’s idea for a VR application to develop simulations of various career paths and areas of study won the grand prize: an HTC VIVE VR headset donated by Dr. Steve Acquah, Digital Media Lab Unit Coordinator and Associate Adjunct Professor of Chemistry.

“The VR competition reinforces our commitment to helping the university community learn more about and develop Apps for virtual and augmented reality, as part of a makerspace initiative. The DML is here to help you build Apps for teaching, research, or just for fun,” Acquah says.

As part of that commitment, the DML is also incorporating the Lenovo Mirage Solo VR headset, powered by Google’s Daydream VR platform, into its development support services to help students and staff create applications and immersive environments. The standalone headset uses 6 Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) tracking to allow a person to physically move around in a virtual environment, and is a crowd favorite at DML events.

Katy Greeley, a Business Development Manager for Connection, along with the Lenovo Team from Connection who made the competition’s prize available, says, “I love being able to see what these ingenious students come up with in their creative minds and are able to take an amazing, out of the box idea, design it, and bring it to life. It’s so cool that we are able to help equip them and empower them with this technology to take their futuristic ideas to the next level! Congrats, Edwood—very well deserved!”

Currently located on Floor 3 of the W. E. B. Du Bois Library, the Digital Media Lab is a campus makerspace specializing in providing support for all students, faculty, and staff on 3D printing, video and audio production, 3D modeling, and virtual and augmented reality application development.